May 2014

Letters from Wingfield Farm

Letter from Wingfield FarmAsk any Canadian "Who is Walt Wingfield?", and you will likely be met with a delighted smile of recognition.  Comic actor Rod Beattie has been bringing the iconic character of stockbroker-turned-farmer to life on stages throughout Canada for the past 20 years.  Now these performances have been collected on six DVDs, and are available for checkout at the Lane Library.  Featuring Beattie's remarkable impersonation of over a dozen characters from Larkspur in the Persephone Township, each of these single-actor plays shines with a humor reminiscent of Will Rogers and the best of Garrison Keillor.

In describing the first play, "Letters from Wingfield Farm",  theater critic Connie Meng says  "Mr. Beattie is able to change characters in the blink of an eye.  Using only a few hats, an amazingly flexible voice and terrific body language, he plays Walt's stammering neighbor Freddie, the old Squire across the road, the newspaper owner, a maudlin Irishman, a confused old lady and a preoccupied mechanic.  By the end of the evening we feel that we know these residents of Persephone Township.

Using the format of Walt's letters to the editor of the weekly newspaper, playwright Needles ties together various anecdotes about Walt's attempts to return to a simpler life.  Among them are trying to plow with his horse that only turns to the left, his misguided attempt to milk a heifer, and his anxiety about an ailing duck.  There are a couple of touching moments, but Mr. Beattie's timing is perfect and he never allows the material to become maudlin."

Lane Library patrons may reserve any one of these DVDs by following the links below in our on-line catalog.

Letter from Wingfield Farm

Wingfield's Folly

Wingfield's Progress

Wingfield on Ice

Wingfield's Inferno

Wingfield Unbound